League of Michigan Bicyclists

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The Right Of Way In Crosswalks And Mandatory Use Of Bike Paths

  • Created on Thursday, 07 April 2011 17:04
WHO HAS THE RIGHT OF WAY IN A CROSSWALK?
During the past year, numerous readers have posed the following question to us:  “Who has the right of way when crossing a street?”  This is a good question, the answer to which will either help you better understand the rules of the road and hopefully avoid an accident or help you preserve your rights if you are involved in an accident.   So, what are the rules of the road with regard to crosswalks?  As a general rule and assuming traffic signals are being obeyed, pedestrians using the crosswalk have the right of way over all motor vehicles.  Cyclists riding their bicycle or walking a bicycle in a crosswalk also have the right of way over all motor vehicles and bicyclists riding in the street.  A recent trial court decision is instructive and demonstrates how your rights can be abrogated if you fail to follow the rules of the road. 
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The No-Fault Law And Recent Legal Decisions

  • Created on Monday, 19 October 2009 15:12
The following are recent cases where an injured person sued a negligent motor-vehicle operator who caused the accident and subsequent injury. Bicyclists and motor-vehicle drivers are subject to exactly the same No-Fault Law analysis. Remember: only injuries that meet a certain threshold are eligible for compensation for pain and suffering ("non-economic injuries"). According to the Michigan No-Fault Statute, the threshold to recover must be met in one of three ways: death; serious impairment of a bodily function; or a permanent serious disfigurement. The Michigan Supreme Court sets the minimum threshold for the three ways to recover through its written decisions. If an injured party (all bicyclists included) does not meet the threshold, he or she is only eligible for reimbursement for medical treatment from his/her own motor-vehicle insurer and cannot recover damages from the negligent driver or his/her insurer for any pain and suffering.
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Governmental Liability For Failing to Maintain Bike Path

  • Created on Friday, 02 October 2009 14:38
We were recently asked what legal recourse a cyclist might have if he was injured while cycling on a bike path or trail maintained by a governmental unit such as a township. Unfortunately, there is not a clear cut answer to this question, because this area of law is extremely complex and unsettled. Generally, a governmental agency is immune from liability where the agency is engaged in the exercise or discharge of a governmental function.1 An exception to governmental immunity arises under the "highway exception" when the governmental unit fails to maintain a highway under its jurisdiction.2 A highway is defined as a "public highway, road, or street that is open for public travel and includes bridges, sidewalks, trailways, crosswalks and culverts on the highway. The term highway does not include alleys, trees, and utility poles."3 Read more...

Who Let The Dawg Out?

  • Created on Friday, 02 October 2009 14:33
Most of us have experienced the panic of being chased by an unleashed dog. Some of us even have ended up with a few teeth marks or crashing as a result of avoiding Fido's pearly-whites. Have faith- the law is squarely on the bicyclist's side if an injury or equipment damage occurs.

For a dog bite, it's strict liability against the dog owner. MCL 287.351(1) states:

If a dog bites a person, without provocation while the person is on public property, or lawfully on private property, including the property of the owner of the dog, the owner of the dog shall be liable for and damages suffered by the person bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner's knowledge of such viciousness.

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Bike Safety Quiz: You vs. the Judge - Questions & Answers

  • Created on Friday, 02 October 2009 14:26
If you recall, in the last issue we printed a few "Bike Safety Tips" that were authored by a Detroit area judge and published in a local newspaper. The judge offered numerous rules that should be followed to insure the safety of a bicyclist. We asked you to determine whether or not these tips were actual rules of law. Following is a re-print of those tips and the correct legal answers:

QUESTIONS:

  1. A person on a bike should always wear a bike helmet. Head injuries are often more serious than other types of injuries and can be fatal.
  2. A person on a bike must always obey traffic signs; this includes stop signs, yield signs and traffic lights.
  3. A person should never ride a bike on a highway; bike paths should be used.
  4. One should be very careful riding a bike in the street, however, a busy road should not have bike riders traveling on it. It is a tragedy waiting to happen.
  5. A bike rider should always ride with traffic and on the right hand side of the street.
  6. If bicyclists are riding together, they should be in single file.If you ride at night, you should wear light colored or reflective clothing and should have a light on the front and a reflector on the rear of the bike.

    Click Next for Answers
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Bicycle Crash Checklist

  • Created on Friday, 02 October 2009 14:24
Spring is here and outdoor cycling has started for most of us. It's a fact that many of us at some point will have a bicycle accident that involves a motor vehicle. In the unfortunate event you do get hit by a car or a car causes you to become injured, we've compiled a short list of things to do and things to consider. Also, remember that these procedures apply if you've been injured from a dog bite or chase or if the condition of the road or sidewalk causes your injuries.

What to Do When Hit by a Car

  • DON'T ADMIT LIABILITY BY STATING THE ACCIDENT WAS YOUR FAULT.
  • CALL THE POLICE AND MAKE A REPORT
  • GET DRIVER'S CONTACT AND INSURANCE INFORMATION
  • GET WITNESSES' STATEMENTS AND CONTACT INFORMATION
  • GET THE OFFICER'S PRECINCT # AND CONTACT INFORMATION
  • SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL TREATMENT FOR INJURIES
  • REPORT INCIDENT TO YOUR AUTO INSURANCE COMPANY
  • REPORT INCIDENT TO YOUR HOMEOWNERS/RENTERS INS. CO.
  • TAKE PHOTOS OF CRASH SCENE, INJURIES AND BICYCLE
  • REQUEST COPY OF POLICE REPORT
  • KEEP FOLDER OF ALL CRASH INFORMATION (NOTES, RECEIPTS, LOG, INSURANCE INFORMATION, ETC.)
  • CONTACT AN ATTORNEY TO ADVISE YOU OF YOUR RIGHTS

Many of the items in the list are self-explanatory. While the information reporting and gathering aspects are very important, probably the most important step to preserving your rights lies in our first recommendation - DO NOT ADMIT LIABILITY. While it may seem that we are asking you to hide the truth, this is not the case. When involved in any sort of accident, oftentimes you are in shock and do not know what has happened. Many times our clients are not even able to remember how the accident happened. Too often, we find that cyclists are eager to explain how the accident happened or to accept responsibility for the accident, when in reality it wasn't their fault at all. The facts, once gathered, most times bear that out. That is why it is important to preserve the information and let the facts concerning the accident speak for themselves. There is no sense in assuming liability or making an explanation for the accident's cause when you probably only know a portion of all that occurred.

Obviously, the goal is to avoid any sort of accident. But if it should happen, these tips will help guide you should you have to file a claim with your insurance company or file a suit in court. As always, should any rider have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us. Ride Safely!

Bicycle Equipment Checklist

  • Created on Friday, 02 October 2009 14:10
What’s Required and What’s Recommended

According to Michigan law, bicycles should be equipped with certain items. Surprisingly, a helmet is still not among one of those items. Thankfully, most of us wear helmets when cycling, even though we're not required by state law to do so. We've compiled a summary of the equipment you are required to have on your bicycle. Also compiled is a list of items that we think are necessary, even if it's not required by state law.

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